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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Jeff Oster

NEXT

Review by Gary Hill

I guess the only one word classification for this music would be “fusion.” That covers it, but also misses. There is a lot of jazz here, but there is also a lot of space music, progressive rock and more. Generally we land fusion under prog, anyway, but this one fits more than some of the others do. However you line that definition up, though, this is quite strong. It works well from start to finish, really.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Next (feat. Nile Rodgers)

With a bit of a spoken introduction, this works out into a killer space jazz jam. It’s sedate, but also has a lot of groove.

Night Train to Sofia
There are some non-lyrical female vocals on this cut, but they might be samples. This is a pretty piece of music that’s very much spacey prog. The horns do land it more in jazz territory, though.
Gardens of Varanasi
More purely jazz oriented, this is quite a pretty piece of music. It’s one of my favorites on the disc. It has some definite electronic elements, but the melodic jazz is the major concept here.
Turn Left at San Pancho
Rather than big changes, we get another classy mellow song with a lot of jazz in the mix. It’s quite an effective piece.
I Can't Make You Love Me
I particularly enjoy the melodies on this number. The interplay between horn and piano is great, too.
On Mother's Day
Starting on acoustic guitar, there is a real classical music element at the start of this. The song is quite mellow and quite pretty. It also feels a little melancholy. The arrangement is just guitar and horn.
Half a Cookie
The balance here is a bit more on the electronic side of things. It’s another great mellow groove.
Ibiza Sunrise

"Jazzy ambient space prog” is a good description of this piece. The non-lyrical female vocals bring some extra magic to this.

Avenue D
Although not all that different, the melodies on this really sell it. The number is very effective, really.
The Mystery of B
Particularly dreamy and trippy, this is a great piece of music. It’s actually one of my favorites here.
Heroes (feat. Jeff Taboloff)
In some ways this makes me think of what you might get if you merged Jean-Luc Ponty with Spyro Gyra and Vangelis. It’s a moving number. It has some great melodies and a lot of magic.
And We Dance
Another built around acoustic guitar and the horn, this is a very pretty piece. Normally, I think that closing with something this mellow is a bad idea. Somehow it seems quite satisfying in this instance.

 

 
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